Buried in a recent “collectors edition” of the print magazine Life Story: Film Fantasy is a 4-page feature article on the upcoming animated feature Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, co-produced by Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation.
There’s no mention of the Justice League movie on the cover. The magazine targets Tw*light fans on the release of the glittery vampirish feature film N*w M*on. [If you're wondering why the censorship, it's to avoid coming up in keyword searches by fans of that series. Nothing against them personally though, since my wife's a diehard fan. I just don't want them overruning my blog.]
I’d link a cover image here, but again I’d like to avoid keyword searches related to the movie. If you want to see it, do a Google search on the magazine title plus the movie title. (But I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding a copy.)
The magazine’s hidden feature on Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths includes preview images, storyboard art and interviews with writer Dwane McDuffie and celebrity voice cast Billy Baldwin (Batman), Mark Harmon (Superman), James Woods (Owlman), Gina Torres (Super Woman) and Chris Noth (Lex Luthor). (Additional voices confirmed as of this writing are Vanessa Marshall (Wonder Woman), Josh Keaton (The Flash) and Bruce Davison (The President).
SPOILER ALERT! The following excerpts from the cast on voicing their respective characters may include spoilers, so you can’t say you weren’t warned. Please scroll down to continue reading.
- Billy Baldwin on Batman:
I enjoyed [Batman] as a child, and the character still resonates for me. Plus, my [7-year-old] boy…just loves superheroes. We watch Justice League together. When I told him I was playing Batman, his jaw dropped.
I was looking at the script on a plane, and I was really attracted to the character and the piece based on my understanding of Batman. He doesn’t have long monologues so there wasn’t a lot of memorization necessary. [There wasn't *any* memorization necessary, Billy. Voice actors read from a script in the studio, and thankfully never have to memorize their dialog. -- Ed.] I was mostly focused on getting into the rhythm of how the character speaks, because a lot of his dialogue can be incredibly challenging emotionally. That’s the thing about Batman — his spectrum of emotion is fairly narrow, for a number of reasons. He’s always in command, he’s always in control, he’s always holding it together.
- Mark Harmon on Superman:
I’m actually a little uncomfortable playing Superman.
I don’t think you [can just] play him as the guy with the red S on his chest. You’ve got to play the human values of that or the values that connect to a human audience.
To me, growing up watching Superman on black and white television or reading it in the comic books, all the superhuman things he did were cool. But the things that attracted me are really the human part of the character, or at least the part that was more real. Hopefully that’s what I brought to that. He’s a leader. He’s a quarterback. He can be tough when he needs to be. He can certainly be direct. [He] tries to speak honestly. I understand those values.
- Chris Noth on Lex Luthor:
I was extremely excited to be playing the ultimate villain from my youth, so I was very suprised to see that in this world Lex is actually on the right side of the law. That required a whole new thinking on my part on how to approach him. I mean, he’s a superhero in this very complex story about parallel universes — he’s actually trying to save all of reality…from being destroyed. So when I read it, I was thinking, “Wow, I need to get up to date on this new world of superheroes.” I guess I’m a little bit retro.
- James Woods on Owlman:
If Ultraman is Superman’s dark doppelganger, the Owlman is Batman’s dark side. Owlman is… a very dangerous character. [His] extraordinary brain power… [which] I think [causes] him to have incredibly dark, existential reservations about his acts. [And] he becomes a [threat], not only to the Justice League and to Earth as we know it, but also all the other alternate Earths… the future of the multiverse may be in his hands.
Owlman and Super Woman, who’s Wonder Woman’s dark side, have this strange power-hungry kind of — I won’t call it love affair, but certainly a strange attraction. And it is the dark side of love, so it involves a kind of power and domination. [Their] love is sort of a really brutal, bitter kind of love. And to get that kind of tone into it was kind of strange, because it’s not what love would be about. So you have things that are kind of counterintuitive, but it’s fun to try it.
- Gina Torres on Super Woman:
I’m so glad they called me to do Super Woman, because she’s another badass (laughs), and I wsa in the mood to get back in there and be a badass. She’s one of those superheroes that knows her power and is comfortable in [it].
There is no trick to caputuring villainy. Everybody has different sides to them. Everybody has that inner villain that you want to sort of break out and express. It’s a good time going out there and letting her come out. Lock good Gina in the closet and have evil Gina come out and play!
To read the full interview, you’ll have to purchase the magazine (because I don’t want to get sued for copying it verbatim). And it’s pricey at $9.99, but if you buy it at Wal-Mart it should scan at $8.95. The cover says it will be available on newsstands through 2.08.2010.
Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths is slated to release on DVD and Blu-ray early Spring 2010.
Related post: 7.23.2009 – ‘Batman/Superman: Public Enemies’ Voice Cast Interviewed